Are you curious to know what it’s like to study at the University of La Verne?
Check out our interview with our former student Sebastian Okita from the Strategy & Marketing class of January 2022!
Read on and find out about daily life, the university structure, and the experiences of those who have experienced studying for 3 weeks in California!
What is your background (or what are you studying?)
I have a degree in political science from the University of Buenos Aires. I have a Diploma in Environmental Activism and Policy and I also completed a program in International Politics. This year I will begin graduate studies. I will pursue a specialization in political studies.
Why did you choose this university and course?
I chose the university because I felt it had a strong commitment to academics and professionalism, but also to inclusion and diversity. That particularly caught my attention and I wanted to approach the university policies that spearhead the position of the university. On the other hand, the business strategy and international marketing course was a novelty in my choice since I was originally going to take the course on contemporary topics in public administration. However, the course chosen in the second instance was extremely enriching and allowed me to come across a series of theoretical and practical concepts that will be valuable in every personal and professional instance I encounter.
How was the process of preparing for the trip with IBS Americas? What support have you received from the team?
During the preparation process, I am extremely grateful to have received assistance in every instance I needed it. Although the process took longer than imagined due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the upcoming circumstances and the accompaniment of the IBS Americas team ensured that the preparation had every instance in advance.
How was your preparation to leave your country after almost 2 years of closed borders worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
My pre-trip preparation was extremely cautious. I tried to avoid any exposure to the virus and working remotely allowed me to stay at home for as long as possible. However, it was also necessary to have certain activities in order to find a balance. In that respect, I must say that the foray back into English speech grammar was a leisure but also an academic one, so that I was able to find it an enjoyable time during the pandemic. This included reading, series, movies, and podcasts in English that helped me to polish my English and also to distract me from everyday life.
How was the experience of studying with people of different nationalities and cultures? From which countries were the students you met?
Having the possibility of studying with people from different countries is a great instance of cultural exchange. This is possible thanks to the diversity in the ways of studying, in the perspectives on what they have seen and in the way they share what they have learned. Thanks to the fact that I had the possibility to do it before, it was not the first time, but it was very gratifying to share studies with people from other countries, with a different educational, cultural and personal background.
What companies did you visit? How was the experience to get in touch with executives from these companies?
Unfortunately, Covid-19 prevented him from carrying out the activities scheduled by IBS Americas and the University. I was sorry, but at least I was able to be part of the virtual tour of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was an amazing experience and a new talk for my knowledge.
What did you think of the university’s structure, staff, and support during classes?
As far as the structure of the university is concerned, I was really very comfortable and delighted with the layout of the buildings surrounded by nature, the interweaving of modern buildings and buildings of yesteryear, preserved in a praiseworthy manner. I really enjoyed walking through each of the spaces and found it very interesting to discover such resources available to the students.
About your routine, how did you organize yourself to study and enjoy your free time? What did you do in those moments? What places did you visit?
Regarding the organization to follow the course study, I was able to organize myself to be able to dedicate time to the material seen during the class, as well as to the tasks given to us by the professors. When the days without classes arrived, I tried to take advantage of the time to go for a walk from early in the morning. The places I had the opportunity to visit were Downtown L.A., Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica, The Warner Bros Studios, The Walk of Fame, among others. I was fascinated with each of the places, and I would visit them again, as well as others that I had left pending, such as The Walt Disney Concert Hall, Universal Studios, Las Vegas, among others.
How important is this international experience in your life and career?
I believe that the experience provided me with a new perspective on my personal, academic and professional life. This is due to the magnificent way in which the professors delivered the concepts. In the same way, introducing me to a completely different society, even if it was for a short period of time, also meant a completely different reading from the one that works in my country, so it is also a factor that I take into account, and it gives me several reflections on the subject.
Finally, what message would you like to leave for students who are planning to take a course abroad?
At the time of leaving a message for those who decide to study in another country, my experience allows me to advise them not to hesitate to do so, to go through the lens of our reality, of our perspective and enter a different nation, with a group of people looking to expand the horizon of learning and enrichment. I believe that it is entirely worthwhile to have this project within the academic and professional orbit, and at the same time it should be an incentive from the different houses of studies.
Sebastian, the IBS Americas team thanks you for participating in this interview and wishes you every success and fulfillment in your professional career.
If you are interested in this experience and would like the opportunity to study at the University of La Verne, please apply for the selection process for the upcoming classes. The scholarships are exclusively for short term courses (3 weeks).